Cadenza's new collection

Nepal's premier jazz band Cadenza Collective released its fourth album Himalayan Songlines: Cadenza Collective on Wednesday 16 October with a rousing performance at Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat. In a warm, cozy atmosphere of graffitied walls, uneven wooden tables and music enthusiasts holding overflowing glasses of beer, Cadenza delivered the new songs in its characteristic fusion style.

The album is another iteration of Cadenza's signature, blending classical western instruments like saxophone, drums and guitar, with infusions of Nepali sounds. The foot-tapping first song, Lai Bari Lai, starts with a saxophone melody, is carried over by enthusiastic drumming and ends with a little hum. "This song is about how life has been for us after our last album, growing up, having, fun and moving on with life in Nepal," says the group’s founder Navin Chhetri.

The next song, Darjeeling Tea, is about Chhetri’s memories of the famed Indian town. The edgy number is fast moving, and had quite a few members in the audience twirling and twisting. With fewer melodies, more drumming, and quite a bit of scatting, the number is definitely an upbeat one.

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Pari Garu is reminiscent of naughty things and youthful vibes, with a mix of melody and rhythm. Eh Maya is a thoughtful and contemplative song, with slow, lilting melodies that make you want to close your eyes and just listen. The saxophone is prominent here, and the band's gentle singing about love adds to its dreamy charm.

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A surprising number in the album is Blueselo, which fuses the Blues style with Selo, a folk music form of the Tamang community. Cadenza reproduces almost exactly the sound of the Tungna string instrument prominent in Selos using modern guitars, and goes on to play Tamang damphu rhythms on snare drums. The song introduces jazz listeners to Nepali folk music, and also updates and broadens the scope of Tamang Selo. The song increases in tempo and ends on a loud jubilant note, with the audience cheering along in enjoyment.

All in all, Cadenza's latest album is a treat for jazz lovers everywhere. In the spirit of jazz, the album contains much improvisation, and introduces many facets of Nepali music to the jazz audience. Cadenza has made a niche for itself and Nepali jazz with cultural amalgamation in music, and its latest album cements that reputation.